Advertisement

Home / West-bengal / National Gorkhaland Committee rakes up statehood demand

National Gorkhaland Committee rakes up statehood demand

The NGC’s announcement comes at a time when Gorkhaland is not really a buzzword among political parties in the hills
The Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morch is focused on issues like scrapping of provisions for free movement of Indian and Nepalese citizens in the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty.
The Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morch is focused on issues like scrapping of provisions for free movement of Indian and Nepalese citizens in the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty.
File picture

Vivek Chhetri   |   Darjeeling   |   Published 09.06.21, 01:02 AM

The National Gorkhaland Committee (NGC), an apolitical body which is positioning itself as a “think tank” of the community in India, has decided to set up a Peoples Forum (PF) to “expedite the demand of a separate home state” at a time hill political parties are relatively silent on the Gorkhaland issue.

Lt. Gen. (retd) Shakti Gurung, chairman, NGC, said its members scattered across India had held a meeting with Mahendra P. Lama, founding vice-chancellor of Sikkim University, on Sunday on Lama’s proposal of forming a Peoples Forum for a “permanent political solution for the hills”.

Advertisement

Many in the hills construe the “permanent political solution” as a separate state.

Lt. Gen. (retd) Gurung said: “Following the discussions, Dr Lama, while promising his full cooperation, requested the NGC to initiate the process of setting up the PF and to lead it, for which the NGC has agreed.”

NGC has now started reaching out to political parties “of the proposed state”, eminent citizens and institutions representing different stakeholders like “tea, tourism, cultural, natural resources … and social organisations to participate in the PF and work together in this endeavour”.

The NGC’s announcement comes at a time when Gorkhaland is not really a buzzword among political parties in the hills.

The Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morch is focused on issues like scrapping of provisions for free movement of Indian and Nepalese citizens in the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty.

Bimal Gurung is less vocal on the issue. Both Tamang and Gurung are in alliance with the Trinamul Congress, which is opposed to the statehood demand.

Gurung has merely said they would support a party that backs Gorkhaland in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The statement was issued while announcing their tie-up with Trinamul before the Bengal Assembly elections.

The BJP and its ally Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) are also talking about a “permanent political solution” but they have not expressly said it is Gorkhaland. In fact, the GNLF wants a constitutional body with “not less than Sixth Schedule status”.

Many in the hills believe the state government is likely to push for a Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA)-type body once again. In fact, chief minister Mamata Banerjee during her election campaign had said they would find “a permanent political solution” for the hills.

The NGC, however, wants to start a campaign against forming a GTA-like body in the hills.

“It has been agreed (at the Sunday meeting) that all communities in the hills must be advised to oppose the possible formation of GTA-3 or a similar body ……..as such an agreement in the past has failed miserably to fulfil the aspirations of the people,” said Lt Gen (retd) Gurung.

Many in the region, however, argue whether an apolitical body can spearhead an initiative for the statehood, which is a political issue.



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
 
Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.